I’m sure you’ve all been sat in your homes waiting in anticipation for the next Team Peru blog and, lucky for you, it’s here. I have decided to do two more blogs so as not to over do it but also to wrap up our time nicely. If you hadn’t heard yet, the rest of the gap year, including tour and debrief, has been cancelled. Obviously, this is due to the outbreak of the Coronavirus, which also caused a very swift and premature exit from Peru. We are all home and safe now though.
In this blog we wanted to mention a few of the many amazing people we have encountered over the past 7 months. From training church to Nauta, we have always had amazing people round us and supporting us. So, we wanted you to know who some of them are, so that we could say a big thank you to them. Please know that we want to thank so many more, but we’ve had to limit the amount of people to keep the blog a sensible length.
Grace, Hannah and Kat
Even before we’d all decided whether or not to take part in Action Teams, Grace, Hannah and Kat were already there for us in answering any questions, reading our forms, and planning everything we were doing before we knew it. From the first time I met each of them I was grateful to know that I was in safe hands from then on; I knew that these were people who would go above and beyond for us and they have shown that. Kat may have moved on from her role at BMS back in October, but we’d still like to say thank you to all three for all the support they have given us in the past year and a bit. So, thank you.
Sam and Richard (Bestie)
As managers at BMS’s Wallis House in Birmingham, we got to know them quite well over our time at training. From Richard’s photo competition to the Mario Kart tournament, they had us entertained and laughing almost all the time. Oh, and we were learning in sessions too. So, we want to say a big thank you to the guys who made sure we were in the right place and enjoying ourselves as much as possible. Thank you!
Bewdley Baptist church
We were so nervous to visit our training church the first time, in fact I think all the teams were. But we had so much fun getting to know the people hosting us and the people feeding us, and we loved speaking in front of the whole congregation (well I definitely did). We wanted to say thank you to all these people but to name a few, thank you to Simon, Debbie, Jean, Elizabeth and Barbara. Obviously, there are so many more, so thank you to you too.
Not much is allowed to be said about this place, the secrets of the trials we went through will be taken to the grave. But I can tell you that the people there are lovely (even if they make you do horrible stuff). I joke a lot about this place, but it was a helpful experience for the time we had overseas. The staff pushed us to be better and do better, as a team and individually, and it worked. So, we’d like to say thank you to them all but especially our team leader, Steve, Thank you.
Nixa and her family
Nixa was our host for our month in Arequipa. This was an excellent time, made even better by their presence. We may not have had in-depth conversations due to the language barrier, but we were no less thankful for them. They are therefore unlikely to read this, but we’d still like to acknowledge them and thank them.
The school in Arequipa
We had such a fantastic experience learning Spanish. We were well looked after and supported whilst getting to grips with a language none of us had learnt before. As someone who finds English difficult enough, I am so impressed with how much Spanish they managed to teach me. So, to all the staff and our fellow students, Thank you.
As our main supervisors, they had the wonderful job of organising all the activities we got up to. Though sometimes we were less busy than others, we did enjoy filling this time playing with their children. We were the lucky Team this year as we even got to live with our supervisors whenever we were in Iquitos; we felt so welcomed in their home and very privileged to have been able to spend so much time with them. The Mahons were patient and kind, but knew where and when they could push us to do more; we therefore think we had the best supervisors ever and want to thank Dave and Michele for their supervision and their children Phoebe, Ruth and Johnathan for making sure we were entertained. Much love and thanks from the team.
When we moved to Iquitos, we continued our Spanish learning. So, almost every week we were in the jungle, Elias, came and gave us individual lessons. Each lesson was unique and tailored to our style of learning. It was in these sessions that we managed to really get to grips with conversational Spanish and Biblical terminologies in Spanish. Elias also went above and beyond for our lessons, when we were in Nauta: he travelled in from Iquitos weekly to continue our lessons. So, to Elias, thank you so much for all that you taught us.
We had the opportunity to visit a variety of churches in Iquitos. Each church was different in its building, aesthetic and congregation, but one thing they had in common was a dedicated Pastor. This role tends to go unpaid in the jungle, meaning the level of commitment needed is high. These Pastors and their families were truly inspiring to us all, and incredibly welcoming. So, for that, we thank you.
Laura was our supervisor when we were in Nauta. Even though we spent a lot of the time larking around, we managed to get a huge amount of work done. Laura is someone that is always up for a laugh, and compassionate when times were tougher. As a team we were a little unsettled at the idea of living in Nauta for three months, but Laura (along with the others I will mention next) made it an overwhelmingly enjoyable and positive experience. Laura, we cannot thank you enough for all you did, and I’m not just saying that because you wrote a nice blog about us.
This wonderful American family did not reject us for being British but embraced us further for it. They were so loving and encouraging. We were either in their house or had them in ours, several times a week, for film nights or boardgame evenings. We very much appreciated having English speakers (well, American English) that we could visit and talk to about the important things and the not so important things, like Marvel or how to say tomato properly. So, to Amy, Joel and Carmen we say thank you for making us feel at home.
Chris is a wonderful lady from America who has such a serving heart, that we couldn’t help being enthused by her. Chris not only had us staying in her house but also shopped and cooked for us, which by the way was amazing food. Chris splits her year between being at home in the States for 6 months and serving in anyway she can in Nauta the other 6 months, which is a fulfilment of her dream. It was this along with her other pearls of wisdom that made Chris so valuable to us. So, for all you did for us Chris, thank you.
Campamento was not only the church we attended most, it was where Erin and Sophie taught English to the kids and where we saw in Christmas day, by the end it felt like our church. Obviously, it wasn’t just the building, the people were part of that feeling too. Even with a language barrier, we made friends and got to know people. It was a beautiful place to be, and we want to thank everyone who made it feel that way.
Clearly to get to this point we had to have had some amazing people behind us. Our families and friends, inside and out of the church supported us: financially, spiritually and emotionally. There are far too many names to mention, just from me there is an almost endless list of people who helped and encouraged. There is no way to thank you all individually or even as a group; there are no words that live up to all that you have done for us. So instead, know that you have put us on Gods path, and we have been made better for it. Even though this has come to an early end and we feel as though we never got to finish Gods plan, we are in fact, in the right place and doing the right thing, because of you. So, to all of you, thank you for it all.
If you have read through this and feel as though you haven’t fitted into one of these categories, you are wrong but that is my fault. But know that just by reading this you have shown an interest and a care that we appreciate, whether we know it or not. So, thanks for coming along with us and putting up with our antics and nonsense. We will be doing one last blog after this but know that I have appreciated doing this more than I could ever have imagined.
We thank You for our time at training and in Peru. We thank You for the lifelong memories and the way this year has impacted us, and we thank You for all those we have met along the way, for their love and kindness that they have poured out in Your name. We, pray that whatever the future holds and wherever You take us next that we will not forget our time and what we learnt from it but also that we have the opportunity to share the gift of an amazing experience that we have been given. Lord, may You be an overwhelming sense of peace in these unprecedented times, may You give each of us the gifts needed to provide comfort for each other, and may You keep us safe and healthy in soul, body and mind. In Your name we pray, Amen.